Our UARTS Faculty Engineering/Arts Student Team (FEAST) explores current participatory design theory and practices. We are ideating, prototyping, and testing participatory design pieces to advance our understanding and application of this unique design field. Participatory design has now become a central issue in modern design thinking. We understand “participatory design” as the active integration of users in the project or a co-design practice.

Our explorations span many domains – contemporary art to customer experience strategies, health education to memory keeping, and philosophy to colonialism studies. We want to facilitate a dialogue between a user (addressee) and an artist/designer (addresser). Our current project deals with the worldwide traditions of tea consumption and trade, modern and historical tea rituals and ceremonies, cultural diffusion, and appropriation. We experiment with onset expectations for forms, shapes, media, functions, context, and the triggers of identity, connection, relationship, comfort, sensations, and pleasure. We document our process by using a creative notetaking technique.

During the Fall of 2021, we planned for the digital and physical tool/s development: we took our ideas to a more substantial level by building scenarios, storyboards, and user flows, preparing to prototype, and testing our findings. During Winter 2022, we started making prototype/s and tried them with broader participant groups (remotely and, if the situation permits, physically).

In the Fall of 2022, we were ready for the experimental exhibit at the James and Anne Duderstadt Center Gallery (November 10-30). This exhibition was our living experiential platform: we arranged 72 clay tea cups in a grid pattern on boxes on the floor. Passersby were encouraged to engage with the cups, as some had tea box gifts and others triggered an educational video or a video art piece to play on the gallery walls or monitors. You can learn more about this experiment here: Tea as a Medium for Understanding Social Change, and view the Instagram reel here (a dance performed by Aarohi Doshi).

Using the Duderstadt Gallery as our design playground, we observed how visitors would engage with the artifacts while learning about the world tea culture, reestablishing personal relationships, and evoking memories.

During Winter 2023, we analyzed our exhibit’s findings to refine content, prototypes, user interactions and experiences, and experiments with projections.

We plan to spanned Fall 2023 (and possibly Winter 2024) to

  1. Refine our interactive pieces: we hope to go wireless and experiment more with elevations and user statuses
  2. Unify our video content
  3. Develop “Tea Cards” interactive environment
  4. Update the exhibition set-up and… move forward with another public exhibition
Students apply to a specific role on team as follows:

Graphic Design & Video Editing (2 Students)

Preferred Skills: Video editing/video art and or/graphic design skills. Refine current video content, improve sound, cuts and create a stylistic unity with the “Tea Cards” pieces.

Likely Majors/Minors: ARCH, ARTDES, FTVM, SI

Electrical & Software Engineer (2 Students)

Preferred Skills: Help with wireless sensor triggers and software development for an interactive connection between objects, software and video projection. The programming languages needed include ESP32, C/C++, Python, Flask, Socket, React, and HTML/CSS.

Likely Majors/Minors: CE, CS, EE, IOE

All team members will work collaboratively.

Faculty Project Lead

Vadim Besprozvany is a Lecturer at the University of Michigan School of Information. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in interaction design, visual design and communications, mentors independent studies in emotional design, animation, branding and identity, and design language. He is an ArtsEngine faculty liaison (UMSI) and is interested in growing intellectual collisions and collaborative practices driven by the arts, design, and engineering. He serves as a curator and consultant at the Odesa Contemporary ArtsMuseum (MSIO, Ukraine), and participates in art(co)archive initiative, which is dedicated to Ukrainian contemporary art. Besprozvany’s primary research areas include visual rhetoric, semiotics, media, cultural studies, and communications theory. He received his B.A./M.A.from Tartu University, Estonia, and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

Students: 4

Likely Majors/Minors: ARCH, ARTDES, CE, CS, EE, FTVM, IOE, SI

Meeting Details: Fridays, 4-6pm

Application: This project requires applicants to include link(s) to your portfolio, work samples, or other website(s) in the personal statement portion of your application to share work you would like considered as part of your submission.

Summer Opportunity: Summer research fellowships may be available for qualifying students.

Citizenship Requirements: This project is open to all students on campus.

IP/NDA: Students who successfully match to this project team will be required to sign an Intellectual Property (IP) Agreement prior to participation.

Course Substitutions: CoE Honors